Artists at a glance
CHORUS OF SATYRS
WHERE FIRES ARE
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and are this week reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s DERVSWERVE, you can read her music blog here. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
CAL PITT – You Better Sell It While You Can
Cal ‘Callum’ Pitt hails from Toon-side and describes his music thus: “Finger-picking, folky downbeat and upbeat choons”.
Now Cal, I don’t know about where you come from, but where I come from, that’s called having your musical Mille-Feuille and wolfing it, WHOLE! “I dunno, da youf of 2day, innit.”
This inventive piece of musical quirkiness, kicks off with a clip from a certain film, the title of which we shan’t mention, for various copyright reasons, cough. Moving swiftly on, as does the music, YBSIWYC (I like acronyms, they save me from RSI) is a catchy, floaty, dreamy number, with some easy going laid back strings and snatches of seriously falsetto vocal that would put Kate Bush to shame. A blend of harmonies adds warmth, dimension and colour, to what could otherwise be a vocal at risk of sounding a little stark. Halfway through, the chorus pop up in all their melodious glory, and what was a semi-acoustic solo, turns into a family singalong, albeit made up of several vocal alter egos of this one man band.
There’s lots to like about this song – choppy old style piano playing, catchy guitar riffs and toe-tapping percussion. The vocal is the marmite deal-breaker here — you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it — there ain’t no Mister In-Between.
How sayeth you foreman of the jury??
CHORUS OF SATYRS – Always Now
Anyone who has ever ventured into my blog, will know of my musical tastes. So, it will come as no surprise then to hear that Chorus of Satyrs have produced my #FRESHFAVE track this week!!
Composed and arranged by Chorus of Satyrs, Always Now is a combination of acoustic and bass guitar, strings and some gorgeous horn samples.
Hyperbolic hyperventilating alert!! All the instrumental parts were recorded separately, then layered, like wafts of chiffon, to create the gauzy dreamscape onto which they added a sumptuous, honeydew vocal, which with it’s soft nuances, perfectly evokes the romantic vulnerability of the lyrics. That nectarous vocal, married with a rich, evocative, and skilfully executed instrumental, it goes to making ‘Always now’, and its many reverbed parts, a wondrous whole.
Inspired by a love of 70s orchestral pop, Chorus of Satyrs has produced a sonic stunner, with a sound so gloriously wide as to be of almost cinematic surround sound proportions. Sweet as a nut, this is orchestral dream pop at its finest. One to watch!
Chorus of Satyrs three-track EP Always Now is available now via CD Baby.
IYESAYA – Bleed For Me
If you ever wondered what upside-down, back-to-front, out of key electronic guitar playing sounds like, wonder no more. Welcome to the whacky, wonky world of Iyesaya.
If it were possible to play a guitar in the fashion of a drunken slur, crossed with the dragging sound of vinyl being played at the wrong speed, on a gramophone that is slowly running out of puff, well that is the sound of Bleed For Me. Warped, indistinct, dragged through a hedge (or amp!) backwards: very on trend at the mo, innit!
“You want me dead, I don’t know why?” opines Iyesaya. Anyone care to venture an answer??
Faceless and nameless, except for the Japanese sounding moniker, no amount of googling could unearth any fruits of information on this chap, other than what his record company, Cat From Japan, have chosen to populate in his bio. It reads, and I quote: “Everything you hear is played by IYESAYA”.
So Iyesaya is a multi-instrumentalist, and, very obviously, a talented one. There are very few musicians who can actually succeed in making the wrong sound right, albeit a bit “a la Les Dawson” (search YouTube). Les Dawson mastered the art of playing ‘the wrong’ on live TV; if Iyesaya ever surfaces over-ground, it’ll be interesting to see him perform this live!
There is an EP on the way later in 2015, the publicity for which should be interesting.
KATHARINE PHILIPPA – Hosanna
When this opened with its lonesome, fragile vocal, I actually thought I’d clicked the wrong track and that I was instead listening to a piece by our very own FreshNet Mod, Debs McCoy. The likeness between these two ‘other-worldly’ vocalists is uncanny!
Fresh from Queen’s Uni, with a degree in Music, Katharine Philippa is a highly accomplished musician, lyricist and vocalist, who seems to developed a very individual, unique creative style, which she calls Reflectivism. Its overall affect is a little bit Florence crossed with a smidge of Shakespeare’s Sister.
Hosanna is practically a cappella until 1.55 when a Phantom of the Opera style demonic organ explodes like a bomb onto previously unspoilt landscape. The last third of the song is a delicious mess of thunderous percussion, booming organ and a vocal that intermittently bounces out of the earths orbit.
In her own words, “Hosanna hinges upon desperation, fear and the faint hopefulness for a lifeline”. I think Katherine communicates that sense of desperation with effective efficiency, mainly by using the melodramatic qualities so inherent in the grand organ, to their max.
As one of the other FOTN moderators quipped, “Hosanna! … In the highest!” And it is, in the highest musical echelons, and young Miss Katharine should feel immensely proud of such a heavenly achievement at such a young age!
TIZ MCNAMARA – Take It In
Tiz McNamara is an Irish singer/songwriter who has already tasted a reasonable amount of success, having been featured by both RTE and BBC, the two national radio broadcasters for UK&I. 2014 also saw him support James Bay on some of his UK shows.
His latest single Take it In was released on 16th September and has already attracted the positive attention of the likes of Nialler9 – bagging his New Artist of the Week slot — and the Irish Times, no less.
A native of Cork, he is currently based in Liverpool , which seems to be fast becoming a #hub for new emerging musical talent!
Written by Mc Namara and produced by Scanda pairing Boxes, Take it In is an electronic slow-setter, populated by humming keyboard sequences, twinkly flourishes of synth and an infectious heart-felt vocal.
Tiz is currently doing a tour of UK & Ireland, and details of his upcoming dates can be found on his FB page.
TRUDY – Behave
“Isn’t it Ironic”, as Alanis would say, that some of the most impish, mischievous, ‘lil-divil-mods’ on the FOTN group took a huge liking to a track entitled Behave. Yeah, right back at ya lads!
There’s also some bizarre, burning desire on here this week, to be renegade heart-breakers; according to their bio, Trudy, who’s a he, not a she, has a “self-deprecating reputation of a trouble maker and a heartbreaker, his songs tell of his struggle with being mean to women and regretting it later when he is lonely.” Well frankly Trudy my dear, I don’t give a damn! You play rough, you get your knees grazed!
Kicking off with a TWANG that would make Hank Marvin well-jell, we are sent off on a journey through a bluesy Toytown, with a Noddy towards more wonk with a bit of tonk, and a lot of crashing percussion, howling harmonies and swathes of sassy guitar. The vocal sounds as if it’s being performed by someone who has been standing outside in the cold for far too long, and has now been reduced to a shivering, shaking, teeth chattering wreck.
A song which on the one hand, is quite hard to take seriously and maybe that is the tongue-in-cheek point, it is on the other, a very skilfully orchestrated and performed piece of music. Nothing orthodox here; it is bonkers, amusing, entertaining and by the end of it, you’ll be reaching for the replay button.
Behave is one of the most original songs on here this week, and in the words of that great lyric from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it’s “Trudy Scrumptious”
VANWYCK – Walk On Water
Writing Walk on Water seems to have been a catharsis for Christine VanWyck, the Dutch songstress behind this melancholic tide.
“Writing and recording this song was somewhat magic for me. It’s not that often that you succeed in truly expressing what you feel, but here it happened.”
And what else will happen over the coming weeks should prove interesting as like some other artists before her – Olafur Arnalds, Flaming Lips being two obvious examples – Van Wyck has just headed down the “Track a …” route – in her case, releasing a track a week.
Semi-acoustic, veering towards folksy, VanWyck is no stranger to FOTN and has been a favourite of non other than our esteemed Van Snip – Johnno Casson, who wrote of her work: “This is music for the down at heel, with sounds to warm the coldest of hearts, it’s not a little lovely and quite a lot wonderful, I’m smitten.” (I do believe the term “acoustic love bunny” was also used, but this is a pre-watershed gig so let’s move on!).
So what’s the plan, VAN?
“From September 15 onward I will write and share one song a week. Before summer comes again I hope to bring the best of those songs together on the album of my dreams.” The first of these tracks, Lead Me On has already been published, and you can expect this week’s offering soon!
WHERE FIRES ARE – Kill My Mind
I was a bit disappointed to be honest.
When I heard the intro to this track I thought, Where Fires Are were going to go all mad Manics, and I was settling down for a bit of Generation Terrorist James Dean Bradfield musical fury. But then the guitar fest ended, and I was left adrift on some kind of rocky bluesy sea, bobbing along in uncertain waters, until whoosh, I got thrown overboard with a slap of a hard rock tidal wave! That woke me up!
Kill My Mind is a bit classic rock, a bit blues, and a lot ADDICTIVE. It even has a nice mini-slow set in the middle — all oohs and aahs, nice harmonies, succulent melodies, and some beautifully soothing guitar playing. Just when you’re readjusting your eardrums and acclimatising to the new aural pressure, again, the backside is ripped out of your chillaxed vibe, when at 3.30 the lead guitar roars like an endangered species caught in a trap and your nerve endings are shot to pieces.
Stadium-sized RAWK, musical mood swings, images of guys putting one foot on the monitor, and leaping off amps, sweat pouring down their heads, fingers bleeding. The bros look on approvingly.
Somehow I don’t think I’ll ever recover!
WHOLEWHEAT – Tragic Death
When this got going, all I could think of was, DA DA DA! A generation away yes, but the memories still put a smile on my face, as did the lyrics to this sardonic-fest. Tragic Death is the sarky git of this week’s Faves.
This is not a song for superlatives, nope, nor is it likely to set me into hyperbolic overdrive as is usually my wont. What I want do to when I hear Tragic Death, is get Mr Wholewheat, sit him down with a bottle of single malt, possibly a few Dunlop Ints, and a tape recorder, cos man the backstory to this would be one tale worth hearing!
Fatalistic, plastic knife wielding, voyeuristic, fence smashing heart-breaker is Mr W, and, what he has produced is a darkly sarcastic, off the wall humorous, lyrical up yours.
Set to a low slung bassline and monotonous back-beat, where the lyrics ham it up, the musical content has been stripped so bare, it gives Tragic Death an almost bloodless feel of zombie like proportions.
Wholewheat are “Wholewheat Dugg Frump Dugglass C. Keith Left Field” whose official genre is “the lowest of fidelities”: now that has to be the most novel of double entendre I’ve ever come across.
And for that Mr W, I salute you.
PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Listening Post you’re welcome to re-submit it another week. If your music has appeared on the Listening Post but not in our Fresh Faves, feel free to send us an even stronger track another week.
But if we’ve recently featured you in our Fresh Faves – or on my BBC Introducing Mixtape – please wait three months before sending us another track, so we have space to help other deserving artists… For more info see Robinson Has A Good Old Moan.